Actor Michael J Fox once said, “If a child can’t learn the way we teach, maybe we should teach the way they learn.” I love this statement. He may be speaking about children, but it is certainly true for adults as well.
Today’s students are extremely diverse.
Students have different areas of interest within the industry. Some will be drawn to hair color, others haircutting, some nail art, some hair removal. This means one student might really engage with one subject and then be disinterested when the next chapter rolls around.
Students also have different learning styles; some are visual learners; they need to see it. Some are auditory learners; they need to hear it. And some are kinesthetic learners, meaning it won’t make sense until they put their hands on it.
And students also learn at different paces. Some go through it so fast and get it. Others take what seems like forever to get it.
It is our role as their educator to find the right pace of learning for each student. We must find the optimal learning strategy for each of our students by using many different teaching strategies to ensure that all students within our classrooms can learn effectively. As an educator, when a student shows a real interest for a specific topic, we should find ways to really bring that topic to life for them.
Here are a few ideas to help you reach all students in your classroom.
Look for various learning style inventory/self-assessments online that will help identify how they learn. Then, spend time discussing what the different styles mean and how students can use their styles to optimize their learning.
We should become an expert on learning strategies of adult learners. If you are interested in learning more about the various learning styles, you might consider taking our online instructor class, Multiple Methods for Multiple Intelligences. This will give insight to how to teach each learning intelligence. As educators, we must make a point of continuously growing by learning as much as we can. As you learn new information, incorporate the knowledge specifically into your teaching and note the success or lack of success in your students.
Consider discussing the various teaching and learning styles with your students and brainstorm about practical responses to these styles. Provide a vehicle for your students to help each other and to give each other tricks or tips that have worked for them personally. Also, allow students to talk about your teaching and provide you with suggestions on things you can do to help them learn. In order to account for the various personalities in the classroom be sure to offer a combination of open conversation and anonymous feedback. Their suggestions may significantly increase your teaching effectiveness and students may appreciate your willingness to hear the feedback.
This is the most important step. Your classroom should become a place of blended learning. A place where you use a variety of teaching methods that will keep your students engaged and interested. Consider this… if all you do is lecture, the only student you are truly going to reach is the auditory learner. If all you do is hands on activity, the only student you’ll reach is the kinesthetic learner. And if you only do demonstrations, you will only reach the visual learner. You must incorporate a variety of teaching and learning methods into your delivery as an educator so you can reach all students.